Walkability & Your Homes Value
Walkability is highly desirable
As the great Greek Hippocrates once observed:
“Walking is man’s best medicine”.
This ancient proverb carries some weight today in the real-estate market—and your perspective on it can help determine both where you choose to live and the future value of your home.
If you’re a Millennial (born after 1980), you spend 20 percent less time behind the wheel of a motor vehicle than your parents. Younger generations simply prefer urban density to suburban sprawl.
In order to quantify this phenomenon, a group of entrepreneurs have created a system called Walk Score® to promote walkable, livable neighborhoods. This scale has been assigned to every address in America, using a 100-point scale to measure how many amenities (restaurants, parks, grocery stores, schools, etc.) are located in the immediate proximity of a home. When cross-referencing Zillow data with Walk Score® data, the biggest takeaway is that “home prices in more walkable areas offer higher returns and recover faster from market downturns”.
In the end, however, walkability’s “worth” depends on your own perspective and priorities. A less walkable, more car-dependent neighborhood might provide a home with much larger square-footage, for example. It’s also possible that your preference is for the award-winning restaurants in a neighborhood with a high Walk Score®, as opposed to the award-winning schools of a neighborhood with a lower Walk Score®.
It’s also important to note that while some neighborhoods may have lower Walk Scores®, they may also make up for them with higher concentrations of walkable amenities within specific areas, such as strip malls and shopping centers.
Home values can certainly reflect the fact that walkability is highly desirable. Yet the decision of where to live is immensely personal. The most important thing to remember is that while walkability matters, the difference in value corresponds directly to what you value, and not the market.